Ipstones (St. Leonard)
IPSTONES (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Cheadle, N. division of the hundred of Totmonslow and of the county of Stafford, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Leek; containing, with the township of Morridge and part of Foxt, 1370 inhabitants. In the year 1450, it appears that this parish, together with the parishes of Cheddleton and Horton, were included in the parish of Leek, the tithes of which belonged to the abbey of Dieulacres until the dissolution of monasteries. The parish occupies a very elevated situation, and comprises 5642 acres of land, chiefly pasture; it abounds, in several places, with rugged rocks, some of which greatly overhang their bases, and at Sharp Cliff this appearance is particularly striking. The soil, generally, is not very fertile, but the face of the country has of late years been much improved by extensive plantations and lime culture, effected by the late John Sneyd, Esq. Coal, of moderate quality, is wrought to a limited extent; and the quarries of gritstone at Black-bank furnish immense quantities of excellent grindstones, which are sent to various parts of the kingdom. The river Churnet, and the Uttoxeter branch of the Trent and Mersey canal, run parallel with each other through the parish; and the Churnet-Valley branch of the North-Staffordshire railway will also pass through. Fairs for cattle, sheep, &c., are held on March 24th and November 6th. In the parish are two fine old mansions, now converted into farmhouses, called Sharpcliff and White Hough; as also the more modern and romantic residence of Belrnont, the seat of the late John Sneyd, Esq. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £160; patrons and impropriators, the Freeholders. The church is a handsome structure with a tower, erected in 1790. There are places of worship for Primitive Methodists and Wesleyans. A free school, anciently endowed with land producing £20 per annum, was further endowed in 1844, by Edward Corden, Esq., of Ashbourn, with £500, which have been laid out in the purchase of a farm. Fossils of plants, apparently of oriental growth, are found near the church.